When you want to take some time for yourself and relax, the most popular cozy games to date are Animal Crossing New Horizons and Stardew Valley.
Cozy gaming has become a surprisingly popular niche at this point.
I enjoy highlighting indie games that are perfect for cozy gamers looking to escape into some wholesome worlds.
These new and upcoming games are great for those who enjoy playing less competitive games that focus more on the narrative and gameplay quality over intense gameplay mechanics.
These are 3 new and upcoming cozy games to get excited about releasing this year and next!
PUFFPALS: ISLAND SKIES
PuffPals: Island Skies started hitting headlines just 7 days after its Kickstarter was launched! Raising $2.6 million in support pledges.
I’m so excited about this game! I’m obsessing over the art style of the cute chibi characters, not to mention how unique the game is in general. I know this will be an amazing experience and I can’t wait until it comes out.
This cozy game is being developed by Fluffnest, who previously had success with their first Kickstarter to start a plushie line which developed into the thriving online toy store it is today.
PuffPals: Island Skies is a game about eliciting the nostalgic memories of growing up as a kid; exploring the world and discovering everything for the very first time! From traversing new biomes, meeting new friends, and customizing your very own home, there is no shortage of things to do on these magical floating islands! The cozy, warm, yet adventurous and curious nature of being a kid is something we want our players to embrace when embarking on their journey in PuffPals: Island Skies!
During their Kickstarter, the game was just $20! Which seems small considering the scope of the game.
I ended up paying $65 for the HELPFUL PAL tier so I could get an extra copy of the Alpha launching in 2023.
Although the Alpha is set to release next year, the Early access isn’t until 2024 and the full release in 2025!
There is going to be a lot of buzz around this game until then due to its Ghibli-esque style artwork, cute animal characters, and Animal Crossing-style gameplay.
This is a game you’ll want to keep a close eye on.
Could Coral Island be the next Stardew Valley? It raised over $1.6 million with over 36k people backing it on Kickstarter so just maybe!
If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a fundraising platform for creators and an amazing way to support indie game developers like the team behind this game – Stairways Games.
Coral Island isn’t your typical farming sim. Set on a tropical island loosely based on Southeast Asia, the game has a diverse character cast, and just the most adorable animals in my opinion.
Coral Island is a re-imagined farm sim game inspired by classics. Grow crops, nurture animals, and befriend the islanders. Decide whether to revitalize not only the town but also the surrounding coral reefs.
I missed out on supporting this on Kickstarter but it’s being heavily talked about in the cozy gaming circle on YouTube and Twitter.
It went into Early Access on Steam in October 2022, though if you’re a Switch and console player like me, there’s still no word on a port date. It’s looking like that could be as late as Q4 2023 or Q1 2024 right now.
Another Kickstarter success, are you starting to see a theme here?
Mail Time is a cottagecore adventure about delivering mail. With over 1.5k backers and $48k raised in funding, it’s not as popular as the previous games mentioned but no less cozy!
Since it was successfully funded it’s gained momentum, appearing in Wholesome Direct.
Many gaming video creators have mentioned Mail Time on YouTube, like Elizabeth who also goes by the name foxgrove.
Mail Time is a relaxing, cottagecore adventure set in a peaceful forest, far, far away. It’s your first day on the job as a newly minted Mail Scout. Equipped with a mushroom hat, a pack full of letters, and unbridled enthusiasm, it’s time to deliver letters and packages across the Grumblewood Grove.
Their recipients eagerly await the sight of your mushroom hat, so don’t tarry! Run, jump, glide, and make your way across the forest to deliver parcels and joy to the cute critters that inhabit these woods.
Developed by Kela van der Deijl and published by Freedom Games, Mail Time is an inspirational idea.
“Mail Time started as Kela’s graduation project at art school as a way to escape the pressures of making ‘artistically meaningful’ work that appealed to the traditional art school framework. She set out to make a wholesome game solely for her own enjoyment, filled with all the cute things she loves. Mail Time is born out of a deep love for whimsical stories like the Moomins & Fantastic Mr Fox (and a whole lot of animal-based puns).”
Kela has a degree in animation but is self-taught in all other areas of game design.
It’s always inspiring to see women making waves in the gaming industry.